Kim Gardner’s office asks St. Louis County prosecutor for help during transition
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Resigned St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner is asking for help from St. Louis County prosecutor’s office as she prepares to leave the office at the end of the month.
A spokesperson for the St. Louis County prosecutor says Gardner’s office invited prosecutor Wesley Bell to speak with her Downtown Thursday about ways the two offices can collaborate during the transition. It’s a notable step since Gardner has, in the past, not been receptive to other help offers from prosecutors across the state.
“At the request of Ms. Gardner, they are actively collaborating on a plan to ensure a smooth transition of all cases with a priority on public safety and justice,” the statement from spokesperson Chris King said.
King tells News 4 the invitation is “good news” and hopes to have more information about how the arrangement will work next week.
Washington University professor Peter Joy runs the university’s criminal justice clinic. He says it isn’t uncommon for prosecutors’ offices to work together on big cases or when a defendant has charges pending in multiple jurisdictions. However, he says it usually happens on a case-by-case basis.
“The indication that the city will accept some assistance, at least from St. Louis County, is a recognition that the remaining prosecutors in the Circuit Attorney’s Office are really overtaxed,” Joy said. “It sounds as though the county will be lending some prosecutors to assist with cases in the city, and that’s what’s unusual.”
Before her resignation, Gardner faced mounting criticism and legal challenges from Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who accused her of “inexplicable failure” to do her job. Gardner rejected those claims, saying the efforts to oust her from office were politically motivated. In 2020, Gardner was overwhelmingly reelected by city voters, garnering more than 70 percent of the vote.
The collaboration comes weeks after some St. Louis County mayors pitched the idea of combining the two offices. St. Louis City split from St. Louis County in 1876.
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